Reconnecting NJ’s Musky to the Delaware River

Fishing on the Musky. Credit: John Czifra

Where are we today?

View project map.

A man-made dam continuously harnessed the Musconetcong River at Finesville for more than 250 years, influencing the settlement of the region and providing visitors and residents of this northwest New Jersey village with a connection to its industrial origins powered by the teeming water of the river.

Like all of the dams on the 43-mile Musconetcong, also known as the Musky, the dam in Finesville had become obsolete. It wasn’t running a mill, contributed to flooding, kept water too warm for coldwater species like trout, degraded water quality, attracted invasive plants and nuisance species and was dangerous for swimmers and kayakers.

So in 2011, this 9-foot high, 109-foot long concrete dam became the fourth dam to be removed on the Musky, with several more proposed projects on the way.

The public process of dam removals isn’t simple – research, assessments, engineering and public meetings – but the return is worth it.

“Dam removals bring change and sometimes people need time to get used to the changes,” said Beth Styler Barry, executive director of the Musconetcong Watershed Association. “But in the end, people will be happy with the results. It will be different, but beautiful.”

Text from the Musconetcong Watershed Association.

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